What Is E. Coli?

E. coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals, states Mayo Clinic. Exposure to E. coli can cause a brief bout of diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and extreme abdominal cramps.

Raw vegetables, contaminated water and undercooked meat can expose an individual to E. coli, explains Mayo Clinic. Adults typically recover from an E. coli infection within a week, but older adults and young children can develop a life-threatening form of kidney failure. Rest and fluids treat symptoms of E. coli, and doctors use blood transfusions, IV fluids and kidney dialysis to treat serious E. coli infections.